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If You Want A Recession, Vote For Obama

Michael Boskin, writing in this morning’s Wall Street Journal calls “Obamanomics” a “recipe for recession.” Obama’s tax policies are extreme to a degree we have not seen in this country in a long time:

The top 35% marginal income tax rate rises to 39.6%; adding the state income tax, the Medicare tax, the effect of the deduction phase-out and Mr. Obama’s new Social Security tax (of up to 12.4%) increases the total combined marginal tax rate on additional labor earnings (or small business income) from 44.6% to a whopping 62.8%. People respond to what they get to keep after tax, which the Obama plan reduces from 55.4 cents on the dollar to 37.2 cents — a reduction of one-third in the after-tax wage!

This chart shows the details; click to enlarge:

As Boskin points out, with a Democratic Congress writing tax legislation things could get even worse:

On economic policy, the president proposes and Congress disposes, so presidents often wind up getting the favorite policy of powerful senators or congressmen. Thus, while Mr. Obama also proposes an alternative minimum tax (AMT) patch, he could instead wind up with the permanent abolition plan for the AMT proposed by the Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D., N.Y.) — a 4.6% additional hike in the marginal rate with no deductibility of state income taxes. Marginal tax rates would then approach 70%, levels not seen since the 1970s and among the highest in the world. The after-tax return to work — the take-home wage for more time or effort — would be cut by more than 40%.

That would, obviously, devastate the economy. Worse, it is unfair. It is simply immoral for the state to confiscate 70% of anyone’s income. It would be deeply ironic if, at a time when the rest of the world is moving toward greater freedom in the form of lower tax rates, the United States were to regress to the stultifying statism of the 1970s. Yet that is exactly what Barack Obama promises.

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